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Rise & Shine: Should students have to pass Regents exams in order to graduate?

Good morning! In the early 90s, State Education Commissioner Richard Mills unveiled a plan to radically transform education in New York. Promising an end to a two-tiered system where some students were prepared for college while others were left behind, Mills asked the state to adopt tough graduation requirements centered on passing a series of Regents exams.

Flash forward to 2018 and state officials are once again reimagining what it should take to earn a high school diploma in New York. For the past several years, state officials have been slowly carving out new ways that students can graduate that do not always rely on passing New York's traditional five Regents exams.

The changes have broken open a debate: Should students have to pass a test in order to graduate? In this story, we take a deep dive into the history, current reality, and possible future of graduation requirements in the state.

In other state education news, the Assembly passed a bill that would untie test scores from teacher evaluations and the state education department weighed in on the proposal. Also, a new study suggests that school choice can exacerbate segregation and the highly controversial Upper West Side desegregation plan will not impact many families.

— Monica

REGENTS DEBATE In recent years, state officials have been rethinking what it means to earn a high school diploma in New York. Is taking a hard look at the state’s vaunted Regents exams next? Chalkbeat

TEACHER EVALUATIONS The New York State Assembly passed a bill to overhaul teacher evaluations by eliminating a requirement that state test scores are used to rate educators. If the bill eventually clears the legislature, what would it mean for New York City teachers? We broke down everything you need to know. Chalkbeat, New York Daily News, New York Post

Also, the state education department finally weighed in on the teacher evaluation bill. Chalkbeat

HIGH IMPACT This school in the Bronx is making a difference for a group of students with many needs, including homelessness. Wall Street Journal

SCHOOL CHOICE In some instances, school choice can make city schools more segregated, according to a new report by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. Chalkbeat, WNYC, Patch, New York Post

SMALL SCALE A plan to desegregate Upper West Side schools has generated a lot of controversy, but only about 56 fifth-grade students would be offered less-preferred seats under the plan, according to city estimates. Chalkbeat

SPECIALIZED SCHOOLS New York City’s specialized high schools have gender disparities as well as racial disparities. The 74

BUDGET DECISIONS Opinion: The $23 million the city plans to invest in culturally responsive education is money well spent. Gotham Gazette

SPACE BATTLES Opinion: Mayor Bill de Blasio should do more to find charter schools space. New York Daily News

FIGHTING HARASSMENT The city will spend $5 million to fight sexual harassment in schools. NY1